Dodging bullets to throw himself onto a boat which almost sinks in a violent storm is but the beginning of Lac Su’s harrowing life as a Viet Namese immigrant growing up in West LA. In his memoir, he does not flinch in capturing the peril of gaining asylum in an “American Heaven” that is in reality a dismal spot for a hazardous childhood in an alien culture. The result is a story that is not for those with a faint heart or a weak stomach.
Lac Su captures a story of sorrow, of longing, and of fear with grace and a quiet sense of humor. That he is now a happy family man with a PhD is a testimony to humankind’s ability to make it through the darkest days. This book will be of interest to high school kids of both genders. However, though it is not a challenging read, and a child lives through all the events portrayed, the content can only be classified as “mature.” The reader will feel compassion and horror, but will emerge the wiser.